The E-T is hosting a contest in which residents are asked to nominate their favorite local Everyday Hero who can be involved in any capacity of everyday life — everything from healthcare workers to community volunteers to grocery store clerks and everything in between — who have made an impact on others. The overall Everyday Hero winner, to be decided by vote of E-T readers, will receive a $100 gift card.
Over the next few weeks, the E-T will be spotlighting nominees. The current Everyday Hero nominee is JJ Hampton of Stephenville.
One explanation for why JJ Hampton doesn’t put periods after each “J” when she signs her name could be that she doesn’t have time for such trivial things.
After all, the legendary rodeo hall of famer has plenty of more important duties to manage.
Hampton is passionate in the competitive worlds of pro rodeo and real estate — and has found tremendous success in both. She also makes sure she has precious family time along the way with her husband Ricky Prince and their 11-year-old son Kason Prince, who will be a sixth grader at Huckabay this fall.
Hampton, daughter of Johnny Wayne and Barbara Hampton, has won 17 Professional Women’s Rodeo Association (PWRA) world championships. And as the head of her agency, JJ Hampton Realty, she has been Stephenville’s top producing real estate agent multiple times, setting records along the way.
Despite the time she devoted to those efforts — she also found time to give back to others in the community.
Backpack Buddies, which funds meals for children in need, has been one key focus, along with speaking engagements in which she encourages others.
In 2018, she was one of five women honored by the Girls Scouts of Central Texas at the Stephenville Women of Distinction Banquet.
In February 2019, she and two others, Kelcie Chase and Jackie Crawford, were presented with keys to the city by Stephenville Mayor Doug Svien in recognition of their accomplishments as Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world title winners.
Hampton also is active in helping raise scholarship money for rodeo kids through the Johnny Wayne Hampton Memorial Roping event, which was named in honor of her late father.
The E-T asked Hampton what she is most proud of, and her answer had nothing to do with rodeo world titles or record-setting real estate sales.
“I am most proud of being able to give my time, talent and money investing in local kids, adults and organizations, to the town that has always supported me and my family,” Hampton stated.
Hampton was born and raised in this immediate area, and was a Stephenville High School graduate before going on to graduate with honors from Tarleton.
She was driven by her passion for what she does, and realizes how blessed she was in so many ways.
“I was blessed in my life, so I want to give back,” she said. “I have a passion for everything I do. I give 110 percent or more. I have been fortunate with a lot of stuff.”
And even though she will turn 49 on June 1, she still competes at a high level in pro rodeo competition.
“I’m still going. I’m still very active,” Hampton said. “I’m going to keep doing it while I can.”
As for the time needed to get everything done, she said, “I just find a way to make it work. I’m a hustler, and I get after it. When you love something, you find a way to do it.”
The desire to help other people influenced her son, who heard her talking about Backpack Buddies in 2017 while they were on the way to Leadership Stephenville’s annual dinner. He asked what it was, and about how he could get involved — despite his young age. He told his mother that he wanted to give some of his own money to the Backpack Buddies cause.
“Kason got me involved in Backpack Buddies,” Hampton explained, noting that Kason kicked off the effort by creating a Facebook page to encourage others to give as well.
He also sold T-shirts for his cousin, pro rodeo star Marty Yates, and put on a bake sale. Since then Kason and his mom have combined to give more than $23,700 to Backpack Buddies.
“It’s part of us and what we do,” Hampton said. “We’re blessed, and we want to bless others. I do this because I love it.”
Also like his mom, Kason has become known for his ability as a public speaker, including an event in Las Vegas as well as Tarleton State University.
As a results of his efforts to help Backpack Buddies, last year Kason became the youngest person ever named as one of the E-T’s annual “40 Under 40” honorees.
Hampton was inducted into Tarleton’s Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2014. She is also a member of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Cowboy Capital of Texas Walk of Fame.
Among the top rodeo highlights of her career was in 1999 when she won world titles in all four WPRA categories — breakaway roping, tie-down roping, team roping and all-around.
Among her 17 world titles were 11 championships in breakaway calf roping — including 2018 and 2019. Her six PWRA All-Around Cowgirl titles were earned in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Hampton noted that the rodeo life is not an easy one.
“Rodeo is a tough sport,” she said. “Not only physically, but mentally. I love rodeo. I love to compete. Some people give up before (they) get to that point (of success).”
She said that Stephenville is a place where “people rally around each other. We stick together. We help each other.”
Hampton mentioned that one of the key messages she emphasizes when she does public speaking is that, “Your words need to mean something. And the final thing, don’t ever give up.”